Do Marijuana Benefits Outweigh its Risks?

As with any drug or medical treatment there are benefits and potential risks.  Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief — particularly neuropathic pain — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis work together synergistically to help protect the body against some types of malignant tumors. Alternatively, marijuana can have undesired side effects that can negatively affect individuals and this can cause short term to long term health concerns if left unchecked. Marijuana benefits

While positive effects of weed can be seen both recreationally and medically, there are many negative effects of weed to also consider. Major harmful effects of weed are seen when tolerance develops and marijuana is abused. Once a user becomes tolerant to the effects of a drug, they tend to increase their dosage, increasing the likelihood of marijuana addiction and the other negative effects of weed. The state of tolerance also indicates the user will experience the negative effects of weed withdrawal during periods of drug abstinence.

The Pros Marijuana Benefits

Marijuana is effective in relieving nausea and vomiting. Studies have shown that pharmaceutical cannabis can decrease nausea caused by chemotherapy used to treat cancer and almost completely eliminate vomiting.

Marijuana can relieve the spasticity of the muscles that is sometimes associated with multiple sclerosis and paralysis.

Marijuana can help treat appetite loss associated with conditions such as HIV/AIDS and certain types of cancers.

Marijuana can relieve certain types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain.

Marijuana is safer than some other medications prescribed to treat the same symptoms. For example, it may be used instead of opioids for pain management. Opioids are highly addictive and are typically not recommended for long-term use in treating chronic pain.

Cannabis does not need to be smoked to be medically beneficial. Products such as cannabidiol (CBD) oils, topical pain relief treatments, edibles, and other non-smoking applications are now available.

As research continues, more of the individual compounds in cannabis are being found to be beneficial. When isolated—such as CBD has been—these may lead to further advancements in medical treatment options without the “high” produced by the compound commonly known as THC.

Along with the benefits that marijuana has, there are potential adverse effects that comes with consuming marijuana. There is usually controversy surrounding the negative effects of marijuana as some people say it varies from person to person, but here are some general arguments concerning marijuana use:

The Cons Marijuana Benefits

Frequent marijuana use can seriously affect your short-term memory.

Frequent use can impair your cognitive ability.

Smoking anything, whether it’s tobacco or marijuana, can seriously damage your lung tissue.

Smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds.

Marijuana carries a risk of abuse and addiction.

Marijuana has been implicated in a high percentage of car crashes and workplace accidents.

Scientific Evidence

As medical marijuana becomes more prevalent throughout the world, researchers are doing more studies to unravel the benefits marijuana treatment has to offer. With this being said, more studies are needed, and many obstacles involve controlling the quality and dosing of cannabis with what is legally available to researchers. However, the chemicals in marijuana have merit and the benefits are worth considering.

These cannabinoids are related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient that makes people “high.” But how can cannabinoids be useful as medicine? Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest are THC and CBD (cannabidiol, the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis).

THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation, and muscle control problems. Unlike THC, CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn’t make people “high.” These drugs aren’t popular for recreational use because they aren’t intoxicating. It may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating mental illness and addictions.

The  FDA approved a CBD-based liquid medication called Epidiolex for the treatment of two forms of severe childhood epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome (catastrophic type of epilepsy with prolonged seizures that are often triggered by hot temperatures or fever) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (a complex, rare, and severe childhood-onset epilepsy). Many researchers, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are continuing to explore the possible uses of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids for medical treatment.

Animal Studies Show Merit

For instance, recent animal studies have shown that marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one cell culture study with rodents suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that treatment with purified extracts of THC and CBD, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.

Scientists are also conducting preclinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions, such as: Marijuana Benefits

Diseases that affect the immune system, including:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS), which causes gradual loss of muscle control
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Substance use disorders
  • Mental disorders

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